PJC In The News

State paying $60,000 to resolve inmate right’s case

WCI prisoner sought information about lockup’s health care contracts

December 22, 2011

By Matthew Bieniek

CUMBERLAND — The state will pay more than $60,000 in attorney’s fees to lawyers who represented an inmate who filed a freedom of information request and subsequently a lawsuit in 2002. The money will be divided between the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Maryland and the Public Justice Center. 
“The state wanted to avoid paying the attorney’s fees and it just really dragged out,” Deborah Jeon of the Maryland ACLU, one of the attorneys who worked on the case, said. The money comes from the state’s general fund.
The payment was approved by the state Board of Public Works on Wednesday, with $44,388 going to the center and $16,023 to the ACLU. The payments should resolve the case, attorneys for both sides said.
 “It was a very important case,” said Jeon. The Public Justice Center attorneys were actually the lead counsel in the case, said Jeon. Ultimately, the courts decided inmates are “entitled to the same access to information as other citizens,” she said. “It was precedent-setting,” she said.
Richard L. Massey, Jr., then an inmate at the Western Correctional Institution, originally filed a request for four pieces of information with then-warden Jon P. Galley in July 2002. Massey filed the requests pursuant to Maryland’s Public Information Act. 

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